A new excuse

A few days ago, I gave myself an excused absence from posting.  I now have a new excuse. I have shingles. I started on anti-viral meds fairly early in the course of things, so, while I am uncomfortable and not sleeping well, I am not having the extreme pain that I have heard others describe. My family is taking over nearly all the holiday prep and chores. I did manage to address envelopes for holiday greetings to go in the mail today…

Addendum:  I have been participating in Linda’s One-Liner Wednesday and Stream of Consciousness Saturday posts regularly – until the last few weeks when things have been pretty hectic. I didn’t even look at the prompt this Friday, but, in reviewing some of the blogs I follow by email this morning, I realized that I had inadvertently posted on the SoCS prompt this week because the prompt was “excuse.” So I am adding this explanation and message and adding the link to create the pingback to Linda’s blog. http://lindaghill.com/2014/12/19/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-december-1914/  Not bothering with the badge, though…

SoCS: Special Cents

In the US, money is denominated in dollars and cents. We still have a one-cent coin, called a penny.

People tend to ignore pennies, but they have a special meaning for me.

My elder daughter was an early reader and we were always on the lookout for stories that matched her reading ability without being too grown up in content. Her elementary principal suggested “The Hundred Penny Box.” The story is about a child and an elderly relative who has a box with a penny from every year of her life. We decided not to let our daughter read it because no other adults in the book really listened to either the child or the elder, but I loved the idea of having a penny for each year as a memento.

I have given penny boxes to family and friends for milestone birthdays or anniversaries. My parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. My friend and now spiritual mentor as a memento of her 40th birthday sweat lodge ceremony. My college roommate’s 50th birthday. I give a new penny for the current year each year on the anniversary or birthday date.

The only penny box I started that is no longer being added to was the one I gave my friend Angie for her 49th birthday. With a doctor-husband and many friends in the medical community, she was worried about turning 50, knowing that the fifties is a dangerous decade, health-wise, with many serious health conditions cropping up. Because the penny box commemorates the beginning of a year rather than its completion, the penny box for 49 contains 50 pennies. I thought it would be a good way to ease into her 50s the next year.

Within weeks of her fiftieth birthday, Angie was diagnosed with lung cancer, a shock as she had never been a smoker.

She fought hard and we added pennies for her 51st, 52nd, 53rd, and 54th birthdays.

We knew the 54th was going to be the last birthday she would celebrate.

As 2005 began, I wanted to find a new penny to add to the box while she was still alive, knowing her October birthday would not see her alive. I even went to a coin shop, hoping to find a newly minted penny, but it seemed that the mint had not yet started making them yet.

Angie died on March 25.

Later that spring, when I found a 2005 penny, I sent it to her husband to complete Angie’s penny box.

However briefly, 2005, her 55th year, was Angie’s year, too.


This post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. Join us! Details here:  http://lindaghill.com/2014/11/28/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-november-2914/.  This week’s prompt is sense/scents/cents/sent.socs-badge
Badge by Doobster @Mindful Digressions

SoCS: Insight

We are all looking for insight from the time we starting asking (incessantly) “Why?” as toddlers.

Sometimes “why” is the proper question to ask, but, as an adult, there are times when it isn’t helpful. I find it particularly unhelpful when people ask why God/nature/fate allowed such-and-such to happen.

I think a better question is “How?” How do I help? How do I move forward? How do I learn more about this situation, circumstance, idea, or person?

Why often isn’t relevant or isn’t mine to know.

Please join us for Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. FInd this week’s prompt and more here: http://lindaghill.com/2014/11/21/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-november-2214/

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SoCS: The Four Elements

On my newsfeed, I just saw a story about one of the First Nations equating the US House vote to approve Keystone XL as an act of war. So, I am thinking of the four elements in that context, which includes unconventional fossil fuel extraction side effects..

Water is at risk because of methane migration, the permanent removal of water from the water system, toxicity from the chemicals that are mixed into it and that enter it from underground, and pipeline leaks that damage groundwater and surface waters. Unconventional fossil fuels are very water-intensive at a time when many places are facing water shortages.

Air pollution is caused by both the extraction processes of bitumen aka tar sands oil and by the refining/processing and use of this fossil fuel. The carbon-intensity of the extraction process compounds the problems of the burning of the final product to have an outsized climate change impact.

Earth is disturbed to build the pipeline and that land needs to be kept clear of trees, buildings etc. in perpetuity. The larger earth disturbance is the tar sands area itself, which involves felling old growth forests and massive surface disruption.

Fire represents the burning of the fuel but also one of the greatest dangers of dealing with fossil fuels, the threat of explosion.

The First Nations have been leading the fight against tar sands extraction and transport, both in Canada and the US. Their spiritual connection to Mother Earth and the four elements are an example to all of us who are their allies.

This post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. Join us:  http://lindaghill.com/2014/11/14/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-november-1514/

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SoCS: but

I am getting really tired of the word “but” because I have been hearing it so much from my mother-in-law when she is making excuses for not following the advice of her doctors and other members of her health care team.

I know I should be eating six times a day but I have never been a snacker.

I know I should leave out some of the food/dishes, etc, that I need often on the counter rather than hauling them down from high shelves but I hate clutter.

I know I shouldn’t cross my legs when I sit but I’ve been doing it for my whole life and don’t even think about it.

And on and on. There is always a “but.”

I know change is hard, but it needs to happen. We are maybe finally starting to make some progress. She has gained back a tiny bit of the weight she has lost. We now have physical and occupational therapists and a nurse visiting in her home.

We need more progress.

No if, ands, or buts…

Join us for Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday! Learn more about it here:  http://lindaghill.com/2014/11/07/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-november-814/


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SoCS: Find the time

This week’s prompt is “find.”

As I write this, it is not Saturday, but Friday morning. My first thought in reading the prompt was how am I going to find the time to do this and I figured if I didn’t plunge in now, it was not going to get done, so here I am, with the washer running a load of towels, dashing this off before I go back to what I am trying to do today, which is catch up with some of my electronic life, especially my overflowing inbox. 516 emails to deal with, at this second. No doubt it will be more by the time I hit save and schedule.

People who read my blog may recall that my parents had simultaneous health crises this summer.  What I haven’t been blogging about is more recent life complications. I am happy to say that my parents, after losing most of August to recovery, are mostly back to their routines and doing well.  I spent the first part of September battling a GI thing, but recovered in time to prep for and participate in the Alice Parker tribute at Smith, which I wrote about here and here.

Within hours of my return from Northampton, we got word that my mother-in-law has a lumbar compression fracture due to osteoporosis. The time since then has been a blur of appointments, errands, transport duty, trying to get her to eat and use her medications properly, and rest, and not twist or bend or try to do things that put strain on the back, like changing the bedsheets or picking up the paper from the stoop.  There is also a lot of mental energy going to figuring out the next steps, which may include having a neurosurgeon inject a cementing substance into the collapsed vertebra, but first we have to get through an MRI and another consult appointment next week.  And a caucus with my brother-in-law, her elder son, who is a physician but who is several hundred miles away.

Meanwhile, I have been able to carve out some time yesterday and today to tackle the backlog on my computer.  It’s impossible to get to everything, so I am trying to jettison everything I can bear to, while still attempting to create at least a shadow of my presence here at Top of JC’s Mind, through my personal correspondence, and for my Facebook friends.  There are at least half a dozen blog posts that I have in my head that I need to find time to get worked out on screen, unless I suddenly become a stream of consciousness blogger.  No, that would be a bad idea. Forgoing editing once a week is one thing.  All the time?  Shudder…

And, as you read this on Saturday, I will be “celebrating” my birthday. Under the circumstances, original plans have been pared down and even those are vague, pending seeing how today goes for my mother-in-law and what she is like in the morning.  At this point, I’m hoping to be able to at least have dinner out with enough notice that we can wrangle an early dinner reservation at a fine dining type of place.  If push comes to shove, we can go impromptu, even if it means picking up a wood-fired brick-oven pizza and eating it with my husband at the kitchen table. Maybe we can put a candle in it….

519 emails…

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This post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays.  Please join us!  Visit http://lindaghill.com/2014/10/03/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-october-414/ to find out how.

SoCS: average

Average is a mathematical construct. You add up all the numbers in a list, divide by the number of items in the list, and you call the result the average.

Other than that, I don’t find the term very helpful.

Average as a noun, as defined above is useful. Average as an adjective almost never is, especially when used to describe people.

A student could have received an average score on a test, as in the score matched the average score arrived at by summing up and dividing. That does not make the individual an average student.

We are each too unique and complex. No one can ever be average.


This post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays.  Join us! Read about it here: http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/2014/09/19/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-september-2014/

SoCS – funny

My heart sank when I saw Linda’s prompt for SoCS this week: funny. I have missed the last couple of weeks due to illness and wanted to participate this week, but here is the thing – the last word which anyone would use to describe me is funny. Not haha funny and not even peculiar/funny.

I’m much more likely to be described as serious or thoughtful. I don’t joke. I do have a sense of humor, but it is in reacting to others, not any real ability to be amusing myself.

Sorry, Linda, but I fail at funny. I’m sure, though, that lots of other SoCS participants will succeed splendidly at being funny and end your week with levity. Cheers to you and to them!


This post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. Join us! Read all about it here: http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/2014/09/12/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-september-1314/


badge by Dooobster @Mindful Digressions

SoCS – “Body”

This post is part of SoCS:http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-july-514/ . If you visit the link, there are rules for joining in. Please do – and share!

There are “extra points” for linking this post with Independence Day yesterday, so the first thing that comes to mind is the body politic.

Ours in the US is very messed up right now. I wrote a post about it yesterday – (Happy) Independence Day! 

There is also body of work, of which this post is a very small sample.

Small, and rambling, but that is how the conscious streams!

At the moment, my body is settled into my maroon recliner and feeling a bit tired, as it is 3:24 AM. I did sleep some and hope to sleep a bit more before other people start to get up.

Hope every”body” else has a good day!